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June 29th, 2011
Grijalva Joined By Broad Cross-Section of Members of Congress In Praising Yesterday’s First Ever Senate Hearing on The DREAM Act

Washington, D.C. – Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva, the co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC), was joined by 29 other Members of Congress today in hailing Congress’ first ever hearing on the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act. The hearing was convened June 28 by Senator Dick Durbin (IL) before the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees and Border Security. 

The DREAM Act – which passed the House of Representatives last year and got 55 Senate votes but was filibustered by Senate Republicans– provides a path to conditional legal residency for an undocumented immigrant child if he or she:

·         Was 15 years old or younger when brought into America

·         Has lived in the United States for at least five years before enactment of the law

·         Is of good moral character

·         Has earned a high school degree or a graduate equivalent diploma

Eligible people would have six years to earn lawful permanent resident status if they:

·         Successfully complete two years of higher education, or

·         Complete two years of military service and received an honorable discharge if he  

          or she is discharged

Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva (AZ-07), CPC Co-Chair:

“I applaud the Senate for hosting this timely hearing. No one who believes in fairness and opportunity believes these students deserve to be deported. The DREAM Act presents us an opportunity to extend the American dream to a new generation of deserving individuals.The failure of the DREAM Act in the last Congress was not a matter of bad policy, but failed politics. The DREAM Act is important to our military readiness, our law enforcement efforts and our economic competitiveness. As the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office has reported, the DREAM Act would cut the deficit by $2.2 billion over the next 10 years. It’s time to put the politics aside and do what is best for our country.”

Rep. Keith Ellison (MN-05), CPC Co-Chair:

“I applaud Senator Durbin for holding the Senate’s first hearing on the DREAM Act today. I have been a proud cosponsor of this legislation since I was elected to Congress in 2006. It’s high time that we give hardworking young people a fair shot at the American Dream.”

Rep. Jared Polis (CO-02), CPC Immigration Taskforce Chair:

“The DREAM Act will offer smart and patriotic young Americans an opportunity to realize their dreams through hard work, effort, and study. I applaud the Senate Judiciary Committee and Senator Leahy for moving forward with hearings on this critical legislation. While a minority of lawmakers were able to block the DREAM Act’s passage last year, this hearing is a new beginning that we all hope will end with the bill reaching the president’s desk, where I know President Obama will enthusiastically sign it into law.”

Rep. Charles Gonzalez (TX-20), Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) Chair:

“Yesterday’s hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee on this critical issue was an important step in keeping DREAM alive. The House passed the historic legislation last year, yet the fight continues in the Senate. I urge our colleagues in the Senate, especially those who have supported the bill in the past, to heed the call of our promising and hardworking students who have only known the United States as home, to not give way to partisan games but to stand up for what they already know is the right thing.”

Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez (IL-04), CHC Immigration Taskforce Chair:

“Our policy on immigration is organized around the fantasy that we can or should deport all 11 million undocumented immigrants and their families, which will never happen, nor should it. The DREAM Act says we will take those with deep roots in the U.S. and who have contributed and will contribute hugely to our country out of the deportation pool so we can concentrate on serious criminals and threats. That makes our nation safer and rewards those who have stayed in school, achieved great things, and will benefit the American people.”

Rep. Judy Chu (CA-32), Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) Chair:

“Yesterday’s Senate hearing on the DREAM Act was an important and historic step in that body. Last year, the House made history when it successfully passed the DREAM Act for the first time as a standalone bill. And now, thousands of students who have grown up in the United States and worked hard to succeed have hope that the Senate will move this legislation forward.

I know how important this bill is because I taught in the Los Angeles Community College District for 20 years. I taught hundreds and hundreds of students, many of them immigrants,whose only hope for a better life was through higher education, and whose lives changed dramatically when they got a degree. The Senate should bring this bill to a vote as soon as possible.”

Rep. Mike Honda (CA-15), CAPAC Immigration Task Force Chair:

“I commend Senator Durbin for being a champion of the DREAM Act and holding this important hearing. I continue to be an ardent supporter of the DREAM Act and urge my colleagues to finally pass this bill. We should not continue to punish these students who were brought to this country at a young age. The fact that these students cannot work, receive federal funding or loans or obtain scholarships is unfair. We need to honor the work they have done in school. America has educated these youth and we need to ensure that they have the opportunity to achieve higher education or serve in the military in order to use their talent to give back to our nation. The fact that these students cannot pursue their full educational and professional potential is detrimental to America’s competitiveness.”

Rep. Rubén Hinojosa (TX-15):

“In my Congressional District 15 of Deep South Texas, I have had the opportunity to hear from many of our undocumented students who were brought to the U.S. by their parents when they were very young. In many cases these children are excelling in school and have dreams, like many other children, of earning a college degree or entering military service so that they can become productive citizens of the United States of America. They know no other home but the U.S.A. and they should and must stay.

These children are caught in a legal and political situation that they knew nothing about, all the while living here and making life-long friends, and making good grades in school, while pledging their allegiance to the United States of America every day. They are already a good part of this great country. Turning our backs on them now, would be simply un-American.”

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